Saturday, 7 February 2015

University Challenge - Quarter Final match

Durham v. Gonville and Caius

In their first round match Durham dismissed Brasenose. The team consisted of Daniel Morgan – Thomas, Freddie Lloyd, Nikul Boyd-Shah and captain Fred Harvey, and York were their victims in round two. Gonville and Caius – highest scorers in round one – consisted of Ted Loveday, Michael Taylor, Anthony Martinelli, and Jeremy Warner. Having dismissed St. Anne’s they took the prized scalp of Manchester in round two. Let’s get on with it.

The first starter was asking for a scientist, and it promised little until the words ‘one-side band or strip’ gave me Mobius and a rare Science starter. Nikul Boyd-Shah won the buzzer race for that one, and earned a set of bonus on the Vikings. They took the first two, but didn’t know Vinland. For the next starter Ted Loveday knew that the bassoon represents the Grandfather in Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”. My heart sank as JP announced that the set of bonus would be on modularity. Not that Caius minded – they took a full set. Anthony Martinelli won the buzzer race for the next starter, which it rapidly became clear was asking for stick insects. Words with two often contradictory meanings (cleave being the most famous example probably) gave Caius another full house. A very good early buzz from Freddie Lloyd identified the historian Tony Judt, and brought up a bonus set on The Aeneid.They could only manage the one correct answer, so remained 20 points adrift of Caius.A fantastic answer from Ted Loveday identified Menander as the creator of the aphorism – Who the Gods love die young. Two bonus on whales kept the score ticking over nicely. The picture starter showed a parliamentary constituency in Northern Ireland. Michael Taylor identified West Belfast – a good shout, that. Three constituencies in Yorkshire were all gettable, but they only managed Sheffield Hallam - Nick Clegg. Never mind. At the ten minute mark Caius looked to be comfortably in control, leading by 80 – 30.

Ted Loveday anticipated the next starter well, offering Occam’s Razor before it became obvious where the question was driving towards. Pairs of words where you changed he letter of one answer to get the name of a country – eg – Conga – Tongs - Tonga . Bit tricky to get your head around, that. Some numbers thing which nobody knew followed. A great starter which offered amongst others, the composer of Otello – Verdi – and the author of The Quiet American – Graham Greene – was asking for green as the connection – and the Caius skipper was the first to see that. Dreams in Shakespeare gave another ten points, and the Caius juggernaut rolled onwards. Time for the music round, and very quickly Ted Loveday recognised a soupçon of Charpentier. Three more pieces also known by the name Te Deum followed – and they managed one of them. The lead stood at 110 points and it was looking ominous for Durham. Anthony Martinelli took the next starter, on the Roger Ebert test. Two bonus on astronomy followed. There was a great buzzer race to answer which novel ends with the line “So we beat on.” It was between Messrs Taylor and Martinelli of Caius. One bonus on opera was taken. Ted Loveday knew as well as I do that when you hear the words ‘sham village’ you slap that buzzer and answer Potemkin. A couple of bonuses on Mexico were taken. At last Freddie Lloyd won a buzzer race for Durham, knowing that Paris was redesigned by Baron Haussman. Sadly they couldn’t take any of a set of bonuses on aerodynamics. At the twenty minute mark Caius had a winning lead of 190 – 40.

For the second picture starter Anthony Martinelli identified an engraving of Sir Isaac Newton. A full set of three other engravings of scientists followed in short order. For once the mighty Caius showed a little vulnerability as Michael Taylor buzzed far too early on the next starter. Nikul Boyd-Shah knew that Quentin Crisp said that autobiography is an extended obituary in serial form with the last instalment missing. Fair play, he had a bit of style. I met him once in Chelsea, but that’s another (rather boring) story. US Presidential Election slogans added 10 points to their score. The Durham rearguard action continued as Daniel Morgan-Thomas recognised a group of cabinet minusters who all served under Clement Atlee. Bonuses on terms beginning with the prefix tetra yielded them nowt. Now, I did actually know that a mass of yellow tissue of some sort is the corpus Luteum – as did Anthony Martinelli. After a lot of toing and froing and argying and dare I say it, more than a touch of bargying, Caius managed a full set on the Kings of England. Jeremy Warner got into the act for Caius, identifying two Spanish regions that border Portugal. A full set on Geological Periods followed. Neither team could work out that the first letter of the alphabet not to appear in the names of any of the 12 months of the year is K. The next starter went begging as well, and I didn’t get it any more than the teams did. As soon as he heard the words La Grande Illusion Freddie Lloyd buzzed in with Renoir, and thus earned a set on Berlin, which brought them ten points. Anthony Martinelli knew the term bradycardia for the next starter – really good shout, that. There was just time for the one bonus, which took Gonville and Caius to 275, against Durham’s 95.

It’s still quite early to be placing the mantle of favourites upon the colletive shoulders of any team, but I have to say that I like the look of this Gonville and Caius outfit. They cover a great deal of ground between them, and there’s good buzzing throughout the team. They may well take some beating.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

JP started early this week. While introducing Durham he noted that Brasenose put in a dismal performance against them, scoring 35. Well, Jez, nobody deliberately has a low score, old son, and you really don’t need to rub it in to a team who left the series some time ago.
After that unnecessary comment, though, his next comment of note was a response to the question about the substance in a whale’s head, once thought to contribute to the reproductive process. The answer was spermaceti. When Caius offered ‘sperm’, he replied – “No – that does contribute to the reproductive process!” Alright, it’s not exactly Oscar Wilde, but it made me chuckle.
On the 3rd Kings’ bonus, after much argument Caius asked if they could have a repeat of the date. “No, come on, get on with it!” barked our hero. Do you know, there’s evenings when I have longed to reply to similar queries in the rugby club with those same words.

Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week

A test to find out whether a synthesized voice can time and deliver a joke well enough to make people laugh is named after film critic Roger Ebert.


Jack said...

Well, I think most of us expected Caius to win that one, but probably not by as big a margin as that. Excellent buzzing throughout meant that Durham barely got a chance to get in; lets hope they can pull together again next time.

After that, I imagine most of us will be anticipating a St Peter's - Caius final; seeing them face off at any time could be fascinating, as it would pit (pretty much) a one-man team vs a team-wide ability.

On the bonuses, Durham managed 8/18 and Caius 28/41, and both sides incurred a penalty each.

So, on Monday, it must be Trinity vs Magdalen; it will be an interesting match to see A) how Magdalen fare against a more buzzer friendly team, and B) whether Trinity can maintain their second round form or revert back to the first round.

Stephen Follows said...

Don't you think it was unfair to have a picture starter involving a map of Northern Ireland when one of teams included someone from Ballymena?

Londinius said...

Hi Guys

Jack, while I think both Caius and St Peter's are terrific outfits, it's a little early for me to be speculating on the make up of the final. They'll both take some beating, though.

Stephen,I know where you're coming from with this one, but it's just one of those things. How often do we see an American team member answer a question about the USA, or a Canadian about Canada, or an Australian about Australia? Not all the time, maybe, but often enough that it's not an isolated occurrence. After all, you wouldn't ban a question using a map of England because some of the team members are from England. I think that even if you didn't know where Belfast is it's a fair guess for a percentage answer, and that narrows it down quite a bit.

asphinctersays said...

Stephen, it's just the luck of the draw I think. I had a question about the governing body of the sport I compete nationally in in one of our matches. For me, Caius are the most impressive team I've seen yet - I fully expect them to make the final.

Anonymous said...

I think the preponderance of medicine-related questions in this episode might have inflated Caius's score a little, given that their captain is a medic.

This is not to say that those questions were unfair to Durham--as others have said, sometimes you get questions that play to someone's strengths and that's just how it is--but I've noticed that Caius are not particularly well-versed in literature (for UC contestants!), so I'm wondering how they'd fare in a match that covers the literary canon and intellectual history more extensively. (I think Magdalen, for example, are very good at those questions.)

musicman said...


That's a little unfair. They scored (I think) 2 out of 3 on Shakespeare quotes, Loveday got Menander, all four seemed to slam down on The Great Gatsby, and Martinelli got a very impressive early buzz on Graham Greene. In the previous match, Taylor got Zola and Sheridan. Maybe they don't know as much as Magdalen, but they seem to have that area well covered so far.

Speaking of fortunate questions, I wonder if anyone else has noticed that Caius Warner has twice got a question on Spanish regions and twice on Leonard Euler? I can understand if a common theme pops up during a series, but for it to come up twice for the same team is quite lucky indeed.